The number of U.S. soldiers who have suffered traumatic brain injuries from the Iranian missile attack last month in Iraq has now risen to more than 100. The injuries demonstrate the sheer inanity of foreign interventionism.
The Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises pointed out that when a government intervenes in economic affairs, the intervention inevitably produces a bad result, which then requires another intervention to fix the problem. But then that intervention causes even more problems, which then necessitates more interventions. By the time the process is over, the interventions have led to a government takeover of that part of the economy, along with the destruction of liberty in the process.
While Mises was referring to economic policies, the principle he enunciated applies equally well in foreign policy. The federal government’s history with Iran is a classic example of this phenomenon. And those U.S. soldiers who suffered those brain injuries are only the latest group of soldiers who are paying the price for U.S. interventionism against Iran.
The interventionist process with Iran began in 1953, when the CIA initiated a coup in Iran that succeeded in ousting the democratically elected prime minister of the country, a man named Mohammad Mossadegh, from his position and restoring the omnipotent, unelected dictatorship of the Shah of Iran.
The purpose of the CIA’s intervention? Mossadegh had nationalized British oil interests in the country and had thrown British officials out of the country. The British Empire did not take kindly to that type of treatment. It sought the help of the CIA, which tied Mossadegh to the supposed worldwide communist conspiracy to take over the world during the Cold War.
That intervention led to another intervention. To ensure that the Iranian people could not succeed in restoring their experiment with democracy, the CIA helped the Shah to establish a domestic police force called the SAVAK, which was a combination Pentagon, CIA, NSA, and FBI. The CIA then proceeded to train SAVAK agents in the arts of torture, indefinite detention, secret surveillance, and other dark-side practices to ensure that no one could resist the oppressive tyranny of the Shah.
In 1979, the Iranian people revolted against the CIA’s dictatorship by forcibly ousting the Shah from power. Fearful that the CIA would restore the Shah to power, the revolutionaries took U.S. diplomats hostage to make sure that that wouldn’t happen.
Unfortunately, the Iranian revolution was unsuccessful in restoring its experiment with democracy that the CIA had destroyed some 26 years before. They ended up with a theocracy that turned out to be every bit as tyrannical as the regime of the Shah.
The Iranian revolution led to more U.S. interventions. One big one was when Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein initiated a war against Iran. The U.S. national-security establishment came to his assistance and helped him kill, injure, and maim tens of thousands of Iranian soldiers.
After Iran defeated Iraq in their 8-year war, the U.S. government turned on its old partner and ally Saddam Hussein by intervening in the Persian Gulf War in 1991. That intervention, however, failed to oust Saddam from power. That led to more interventions, such as 11 years of economic sanctions that contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children. Other interventions included so-called no-fly zones, stationing of U.S. troops on Islamic holy lands, and unconditional support of the Israeli government.
Those interventions produced deep anger and hatred for the United States in the Middle East, which led to anti-American terrorism, including the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, the attack on the USS Cole, the attacks on the U.S. embassies in East Africa, the 9/11 attacks, the Fort Hood attacks, and more.
The 9/11 attacks, which U.S. officials blamed on hatred for America’s “freedom and values,”
led, not surprisingly, to even more U.S. interventionism, including the U.S. invasion and long-term occupation of Iraq, which ended up, ironically enough, with a regime that is more closely aligned with Iran than with the United States.
That intervention led to the rise of ISIS, which U.S. officials maintained was a grave threat to U.S. “national security,” even though ISIS was not threatening to invade and occupy the United States.
In the meantime, U.S. relations with Iran led to more U.S. interventions, including economic sanctions that target the Iranian populace with death and impoverishment as well as the recent assassination of an Iranian major general who was visiting Iraq with the consent of the Iraqi regime. Ironically, and less noticed but no less important, U.S. officials assassinated an Iraqi official at the same time.
The assassination of that Iranian official is what motivated Iran to fire missiles at the military base in Iraq where those U.S. soldiers were stationed.
One thing is for certain: If those U.S. troops were not in Iraq and were instead here at home, where they belong, they would not be suffering from those brain injuries. They suffered those brain injuries because they were over there occupying a foreign country, where they don’t belong. They are only the latest example of the destructive consequences of foreign interventionism.